T-Mobile Home Internet throttling speeds to certain servers (10x reduction)

  • 1 June 2023
  • 7 replies
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My T-Mobile Home Internet service (unlimited plan) has been working great for the past 18 months.  Download speeds consistently in the 175-450 mbps range (usually 250-350) when running speedtest.net using Ethernet connection to my gateway.

2 weeks ago my download speed suddenly dropped to 15-30 mbps consistently (speedtest.net) - a 10x reduction.  Strangely enough my upload speed remained good at 25-50 mbps consistently.  There’s a long story about many calls into Home Internet and Customer Care support numbers,  bottom line is that everyone kept telling me it’s a cellular problem (connection between tower and my gateway) probably caused by shifting antenna positions on the tower due to the maintenance.  This never made any sense because why would my upload speed not be affected if the cellular connection was bad?  Making even less sense:  All the metrics on my gateway look very good:  4 bars displayed on front panel,  5G RSRQ of -11, 5G RSRP of -72, 5G SINR of 40, 5G band N41.

Today I discovered the real problem.  Using speedtest.net one can select different test servers.  It turns out speedtest.net has been automatically selecting servers that produce the very slow download speed results.  Manually selecting other servers,  I found some servers always give good download speed results,  other servers always give bad download speed results.  This is entirely repeatable and consistent.

So is it a problem with those specific test servers speedtest.net uses?  It turns out no.  My next test was to enable a VPN connection using NordVPN to one of their VPN servers in a different USA city.   I went back and ran speedtest.net to all of the slow servers, all of them were back up to good/fast download speeds when tested through the VPN.  In fact all of the available servers in speedtest.net now reported good/fast download speeds (when tested through the VPN).

Conclusion:  It really seems like T-Mobile Home Internet is artificially throttling connection speeds to certain servers.  There is obviously nothing wrong with my Gateway nor my cellular connection to the tower because through the VPN I can always get good download speeds from all of the test servers.  100% repeatable and consistent results.  Sadly none of their technical group personnel seem to know this - they always check their coverage map and say I’m in a bad spot and the problem must be a bad cellular connection (despite the good metrics reported by my gateway).

T-Mobile advertises that their unlimited Home Internet service does not throttle other than for tower congestion,  which is entirely reasonable.  However my testing shows that they are throttling for other reasons.  I’ve communicated this additional information to the support ticket I’ve had open for the past couple of weeks,  will be interesting to see if they will do anything with it.


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I may be seeing the same thing. My car berate is s bit weaker than yours. I get 2-3 bars of signal. I’m about 3.5 miles from the tower. 
The speeds you get slowed to are the good speeds I get. Normally I get 20 - 30 Mbps. Occasionally I get 50 Mbps. 
Sometimes speeds drop abruptly to < 1 Mbps and sometimes it just stops. I found your comment because I was suspecting that my speed was throttled. The speed change is abrupt. And it is at high use times: evenings and weekends. I don’t have a VPN account so I can’t repeat your test. 
For a long time I thought it was my network configuration causing the problem. It’s a little more complicated than just “plug in and use Wi-Fi” because the gateway is in a building outside of my home where I can get a signal. I use a point-to-point link to connect to my home. Now I’m becoming convince that it’s throttling. 
I hope you find a solution and can share it. 

This is exactlly what is happening to me. Has been Great ever since I have had it almost 2 years. Now for the past few weeks when I do a speed test on speedtest.net I am getting as low as 3 and as high as 6 download, but about 20 upload. If I connect a VPN I start getting almost 200 download again. The issue is watching YouTube TV the video is very distorted if I am not using a VPN. I have spoken with them and got the generic we will create a ticket. That was two weeks ago. I am at a loss for what to do. T-Mobile is about all I can get where I live, my other option is Ritter and they are DSL with a Max of 6 download and 1 Upload. I am getting faster speeds tethering my Visible phone to my GLI Router that I am with T-Mobile.

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I have been having a similar issue. Mine started during the NFC Championship game last Sunday. My Gateway doesn't just slow down it disconnects from the network altogether. After many frustrating hours on the phone with T Mobile people, including supervisors, I have no resolution. I finally found out they were doing "maintainance" on "my tower", which is just across the river from where I live. My service was spotty while the "maintainance" was being done. Once it was completed, the disconnecting and re-connecting every few minutes started. Admittedly, I use a big chunk of data every month as I am disabled and use Alexas and Ring products to run and protect my home. When my internet is out, I can't even turn my lights on! I have explained this to T Mobile reps and some have said they would prioritize my data, but it just continues to get worse. I think the worst thing about all of this is the lack of transparency. Customers who call in with this slow speed issue should be informed of what is REALLY going on so we can make informed comparisons and choices regarding which provider to use. This is the type of tactics that spawns class action lawsuits, especially when a customer asks point blank if his/her data is being slowed down by their company in any way. It is very disappointing! I had great service and they have decimated it! I have not tried a VPN yet but sounds like a good thing to try. I have connected my TV to my mobile hotspot, which connects to the same server(s) as my gateway, and my mobile hotspot connection is around 200 mbps at the same time the Gateway is constantly disconnecting/re-connecting to the same server. I rarely use any hotspot data (I get 40 gigs per month), so I am way under my high speed data threshold for that.

After close to 3 months I still have no fix for this issue. 4 calls to T-Mobile with the same results. I bought a GLinet Flint 2 MT-6000 router that lets you ad a VPN inside the router. I use Surfshark and wineguard and when it is on my speeds using speedtest.net are close to 200 down, when the VPN is off the speeds are 6-10 down. This means the reason they give, towers being worked is complete BS and I am being throttled. The speed does not go up when the cycle starts over, I am just being throttled. I use about 2 tig per month so heavy users are being throttled.

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I just posted about a similar experience with suspected throttling earlier this week and this is definitely interesting. This morning right after rebooting the router, I’m getting 730 kbps down, but 15 Mbps upload, which does seem weird if it’s a tower issue like customer service likes to read off their little script. At this point, I’m ready to look for another option because I can’t work with speeds this terrible, but I’ll have to give the VPN idea a try first to see if that helps.

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I just posted about a similar experience with suspected throttling earlier this week and this is definitely interesting. This morning right after rebooting the router, I’m getting 730 kbps down, but 15 Mbps upload, which does seem weird if it’s a tower issue like customer service likes to read off their little script. At this point, I’m ready to look for another option because I can’t work with speeds this terrible, but I’ll have to give the VPN idea a try first to see if that helps.

The VPN didn’t help unfortunately. My download speed is at least usable this evening (6.5 Mbps down, 19 Mbps up), but it still feels like internet I should be paying $10 for instead of $50.

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I’m experiencing similar issues with slow upload speeds.  It started around when this thread was first started too.  After experimenting different things for the past 2 months, I believe T-Mobile is throttling upload speeds to certain sites, in my case, YouTube.  I primarily use T-Mobile Home Internet to upload to YouTube and nothing else.  At first, it was uploading blazing fast (5MB/s, yes, megabyte).  Now, it never exceeds 100KB/s.  I’ve tried switching computers, and my IP even changed at one point so I’m pretty sure it’s not YouTube that’s throttling me, and the slow upload was still always a constant.  Speedtest attempts all were fast and normal as well.

Finally, I tried using a VPN, and speeds went back up to 1-2MB/s again.  Definitely not as advertised.  I’m considering switching to another provider.

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